True Crime Analysis, Breakthroughs, Insights & Discussions Hosted by Bestselling Author Nick van der Leek

The 4 Bedrooms in Saratoga Trail [Crime Scene Photos]


#1 Main Bedroom

From the images below, taken on August 14th, on the first night after Shan’ann’s murder  it appears Watts didn’t sleep in the makeshift bed in the basement, but slept in the main bed upstairs, on the left hand side.

It’s also obvious that the entire bedding set was different to the one dumped in the trash, and by extension, the bed sheet that was still fluttering exposed in the field at CERVI 319 when these images were taken.

August 13

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August 14

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#2 Bella’s Bedroom

4-year-old Bella’s color co-ordinated bedroom, complete with blown up black and white photographs of her parents on the walls, looks like a hotel room.

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#3 Celeste’s Bedroom

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#4 Basement Bed

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  1. Eagle Eye

    It looks as though Cece is also missing a duvet cover in the first images. Note the butterfly cover after he cleaned up.

  2. Sylvester

    Why would he put her shorts, black hoodie, T shirt and paper lei on his remade bed?

    • Marie

      He wants to make it appear that she changed clothes after coming home?

      • Marie

        My apologies Sylvester. I mean to say he thinks he’s being clever,” Look officers, here are her clothes she was wearing, when she came home and changed for bed.”

      • Sylvester

        the first time they saw his bed was before he re dressed it. so he re dressed the bed, made it, even slept in it and put her travel clothes neatly at the foot of the bed for who’s benefit? First officer and dogs have already seen it as it was Monday morning.

    • Maura

      I don’t understand why he put the outfit she was last wearing on the remade bed either. Chris must have washed them after he killed her so now they are clean. If Shannan had washed them she wouldn’t leave them thrown on the bed. Does he think it makes it look like she’s coming back?

      Another note: I already believed he murdered her downstairs. But for those who think she was killed in bed. How could he sleep there the next night?

      • Marie

        Maura, maybe he really was dense enough to think that he was going to fool them and get away with this. I too believe the murder happened downstairs. He has no conscious . I just read on crime online an interesting article about kessinger saying he had doubled his thrive patches, he was jacked up on that crap

      • BAMS13

        How could he sleep there the next night? I’d say considering he murdered his own family and dumped them in the manner that he did means he wouldn’t have batted an eyelid at that. Probably fell asleep really fast too.

      • Maura

        @Marie and @BAM$13, I agree that he has no conscious. I posted late last night and what I meant to say was that another reason he had no problem sleeping in his bed was because it was not the murder scene. He carried out the murders downstairs because it was convenient for him.

      • Carol

        Same way he could scoff down pizza while looking at the pic of his family after he copped to killing shanann

  3. Marie

    Strange that he puts the pillows in Bella’s bed the way he did. Kind of like “bumper” pillows. Celeste would have required those more. Just a thought

    • BAMS13

      Maybe he put them in bed together?

    • kaceykourkounis

      Hi there. If I’m remembering correctly, the video where the police officer was taking their bedding into evidence showed her bumper pillows were under the fitted sheet.

  4. ncam619

    I thought the EXACT same thing. One more thing that doesn’t make sense.

    • Marie

      He will never tell the full truth of all he did to his family, that is the only power he has left

  5. Sylvester

    If you go back and look at the Wellness Check video, when N, N, and the officer were waiting for Chris to come home you can see everything exactly the way he left it approx. 5:27 a.m. 8/13. Bella and CeCe’s beds are turned back, on whichever side they get in. Looks to be the left side of the beds. At least Bella’s. Just going with Chris’s last story – that Bella was “sprawled out and blue” and Sha’nann was on top of CeCe strangling her, you would not see a turned back bed. You see a turned back bed when someone has either had their bed turned back before they go to bed, or if someone was in bed and got out. Notice how you get out of bed. Do you push your covers all the way down to the foot of the bed, or do you turn back one side – the side you usually get out from. Also both Bella and CeCe’s pillows show indentation and disarray. How could he see Bella sprawled out and blue unless she were on top of the bed, not with the comforter pulled up and the corner of the bed turned down. Same with CeCe. Bed corner is turned down or back.

    Of course when he’s left alone in the house the evening of 8/13 he can do laundry or just remake the beds which is what you see above. It’s how the beds appeared when N, N, and the officer arrived for the wellness check which is the most interesting. Before he had a chance to manipulate the crime scenes. When you rewatch the wellness check video you can also notice just how long he was gone from garage to front door. We’ve already discerned that. When they first come in Watts practically runs to the kitchen area, he also goes downstairs and brings up Deeter – this has the officer follow him to the first area he’s checked to make sure things are removed – like the purse. He could have tucked her phone into his pants then too. While the officer is downstairs in the basement where is Watts? He’s upstairs. He’s taken that opportunity to check the bedrooms – and possibly pushed her phone into the loft cushions. All he needs is some time alone, and he finds his moments before the troups come in and go upstairs.

    My theory is that the girls were not killed in their beds. But were possibly killed in his bed.

    • BAMS13

      I also had that thought when I saw the images of the marital bed in the first walk-through because I thought I saw three pillows on the bed??

      • Sylvester

        And 3 pillow cases in the kitchen trash can

        • BAMS13


  6. Sylvester

    And btw, CeCe would have been the easier one to smother if he removed her from her bed first. Bella, not so easy, as she was the lighter sleeper, more struggle where she was concerned, but both removed from their beds and carried someplace else as the beds are turned back. Not likely they got out on their own. So when – after he had his bar b que meal. And before 9:30 when he’s chatting on the phone to Nicole until 11 p.m. He would have a strong need to talk to her after he did something so terrible – because he’s done it “for them.”

    • Maura

      I think he had left her wedding rings on the kitchen counter and after he arrived home moved them to their bedroom where he “found them.” This would go along with the other post-staging acts.

      “Bella and CeCe’s beds are turned back, on whichever side they get in. …..You see a turned back bed when someone has either had their bed turned back before they go to bed, or if someone was in bed and got out. ” Excellent points.

      My theory is that he killed the children downstairs or in the basement before his 9:30 call to Nichol. He staged their beds to make them appear the kids went to bed as usual. The master bedroom sheet was used to transport SW’s body.

      On 8/12 after Chris took them to the birthday party Shannan’s dad Facetimed with the kids who were eating leftover pizza for dinner. He could have put drugs in their food or drinks so they would sleep. It’s possible he carried them to the bed in the basement before or afterwards storied their bodies there.

      • Elizabeth

        Drugs would of been in the autopsy report

  7. Diana

    Here’s what I’m wondering……..Many comments here asking why CW would lay out SWs shorts, hoodie and lei on the bed after the welfare check by police – Did CW even realize the officers responding to Nickoles call to check on SW were wearing body cams? Are we all just assuming that he knew the inside of his home was being forever captured on video? If he did not know, perhaps he figured he could finish staging it to tell a story HIS way!

    • Marie

      Yes Diana! That is what I was thinking too

    • JC

      Diana, exactly! Twenty years ago Fredrick’s population was barely a thousand, fairly poor and they didn’t have a proper grocery store, let alone a police department. The population is now 13,000, but I was still surprised they have enough money in city coffers to fund body cams! Bet CW was surprised by that too.

      • Sylvester

        JC, could you please take a look at the purple shiny thing on the rug next to Sha’nann’s suitcase in the master bedroom for me? What do you think it is? Might it be the purple shiny night mask seen on the basement bed?

    • Maura

      Diana that makes sense. CW was not sophisticated in planning for everything after the murders.

      • JC

        Sylvestor, you have good eyes! That picture is so blurry – but the object is definitely purple. That picture was taken Tuesday, after he had a chance to move the suitcase from the bottom of the stairs to the master bedroom. Is that the same black suitcase that’s on the bed in the basement when they took the dogs in on Tuesday? Was CW still moving things around (or down to the basement) on Tuesday during the course of the day? That purple sleep mask and the suitcase being on the downstairs bed when the trauma dog was down there is sort of strange and out of place.

        • BAMS13

          We have to remember that purple was Shann’an’s favorite color, she had a lot of purple things. Could be underwear, it looks bigger than the eye mask that we see on the bed in the basement?

  8. Sylvester

    Given that he finished staging the kitchen counter after the wellness check, he had intended to do quite a few things but was blindsided by Nickole A. calling the police. As is he is seen running here and there doing what he can while no camera is on him. More than a minute lapsed while he slipped inside the side garage door – putting a barrier first between the folks who were there by opening the Lexus car door – so they would all be distracted there. When he opens the front door it’s like he’s leading them to the kitchen. While he lets the dog out their attention is focused there. Next we see him at the top of the stairs. As the officer is searching the basement Watts has taken another quick look around upstairs. He might have slipped the phone into the loft cushions then. Don’t know. If he was monkeying around with the purse, he may have pulled the phone from her purse and run upstairs at that time too. Most of all he wanted them to stay away from the side door panels at the front door – which gives a pretty good view of the livingroom and the stairs and the hallway going to the kitchen.

    He had four theories actually. 1) after their argument she laid back down and she said she was going to a friends house. 2) She left him intentionally and took the kids. 3) Someone took them and they are hiding someplace. 4) She killed the kids and so he had to kill her. In any event he had more work to do and Nickole A. interfered with his staging. After everyone left he just kept figuring out more things to do, like laying the outfit she wore on the plane at the foot of the bed. That was the most ridiculous thing of all. Too late. If you think about the Ramsey case the parents had all night, however John found moments where he could take more looks down in the basement – several. And Chris had 0 time between the time he left and the wellness check.

  9. BAMS13

    The little girls bedrooms were done “a la Shann’an style”. They didn’t look like normal little girls bedrooms at all but more like a teenage girls room. It was no secret her favorite color was purple.
    I always thought the black and white photos of her & Chris on the wall behind her bed was an odd choice too! More appropriate for their own bedroom or a hallway. Where are the fairies, dolls, stuffed toys, princesses or whatever it is each little girl likes? Not trying to be sexist here at all by the way… The bedrooms didn’t convey or show their personalities at all. Very sad. I imagined CeCe’s to be bright and colorful with butterfly curtains not elegant those living room style ones.

    • Elizabeth

      not every family has toys lying around all the time.

      • BAMS13

        It wasn’t just “toys laying around” that I’m referring to but more the overall and decorative style in general. The bed, curtains, photos on the wall. It looks like a teen or young adult room. Or even an adult room. Just my observations.

  10. Sylvester

    JC – I don’t know if it’s her suitcase on the bed in the basement – might be his from the NC one week trip. If it is why would you sleep on that basement bed with a suitcase down at the foot of the bed. If it is his then he was planning on sleeping downstairs as soon as he returned from NC – and Sha’nann says she kicked him out of bed (upstairs) on the 8th. Musical beds.

  11. Sylvester

    I see the pictures above now, zeroed in on the sleeping mask in the basement. It looks like it’s been transported upstairs next to her suitcase on the floor. I suppose he can keep moving objects around, initially, until someone figures out he’s responsible for his family’s disappearance. In this case we have so many objects appearing, disappearing, then re-appearing elsewhere. I’ve also looked high and low for anything resembling that bright blue bag or container next to her suitcase tucked under the stairwell. It must be somewhat important because it hasn’t re-appeared anywhere at all. Where is it, and what is it.

    • Marie

      Sylvester, I found the mask also. Strange. Maybe the blue bag is what he took the girls blankets and stuffed animals in? The bag probably disappeared in the basement? So many hiding places down in that place?

    • JC

      And the bright blue bag was likely there before he returned to the house on Monday, is that your impression Sylvestor? He didn’t carry it into the house when he first arrived, but was it there when the first officer did a walk through? I remember that Nick pointed out CW’s glances at the black suitcase (or just that area in general) at the bottom of the stairs as he’s talking with the officer on Monday. Maybe it was the blue bag he was worried about, more so or as much as the black suitcase? Oh geez, now I need to know what happened to the blue book bag, or whatever it was sitting there.

      • Sylvester

        @JC if you go back down to the basement as the officer is shining her flashlight on the unmade basement bed behind the suitcase wedged down by a box looks to me to be the blue bag. I mean it’s the only saffron blue bag anywhere. And I’m wondering what he did with the red suitcase up in the master bedroom. Obviously he removed it, but did he unpack it first – or just carry it down to the basement. Might he have removed the paper leis from the red suitcase for his newly made bed display? I’m sure all of these things are sort of red herrings, but it goes to his preference to have things look right and staging. @Bams, the purple object on the floor does look more like underwear than a mask.

        Someone here said she was wearing shorts and a hoodie on the plane, but until we can see the Ring camera I don’t think we’ll know. One other thing – see if you can see her nightshirt anywhere in the videos. If Watts re-dressed her, where did he take it from? Somewhere he knew she kept it – the closet, maybe the dirty clothes basket, the closet floor, or a dresser drawer or maybe inside the red suitcase. He has to work quickly.

  12. Sylvester

    Well, I saw something else. And you can see it above in the still that says “No. None of this was on there.” It’s her red suitcase. That still is from the wellness check video. If you replay the wellness check video you can see it at approximately 38:32. Of course it’s disappeared after he’s remade the bed, etc. It could be from the NC trip, but it’s disappeared. It was upstairs, then it’s not.

    Also the purse (handbag) has been moved 3 times. It’s not seen at all during the wellness check, then it’s over by the lime green vases by the counter next to the kitchen sink, then to the kitchen island. You can see it over by the kitchen sink counter when the officer preps the house for the dog sniff.

    Also Maura a freeze frame and closeup of the suitcase in the basement on the basement bed is not Sha’nann’s black suitcase. Hers has shiny black trim and a sort of leather decal in the middle.

  13. Sylvester

    here’s what I mean about the ever-moving handbag plus other nice stills:

    • nickvdl

      Nickole Atkinson would know what she was wearing on the plane.

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